April 3, 2011
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Notre Dame's mettle was on clear display Sunday afternoon in its BIG EAST series finale at Pittsburgh. The Panthers had taken each of the first two games of the series by a single run and twice led the Irish by four runs (4-0 and 6-2), but Notre Dame battled back each time for an 8-6 victory at Charles L. Cost Field. The Irish improved to 11-14-1 overall and 3-3 in the BIG EAST, while Pittsburgh dropped to 15-10 and 3-3.
Junior RHP Will Hudgins picked up the victory in relief and improved to 3-0 on the year. The sidewinder tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. Hudgins did not allow a hit, walked one and struck out one.
Freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald picked up the first save of his career with 3.0 scoreless innings of work. He retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. Fitzgerald has not allowed an earned run over his last 9.2 innings of work.
Alex Caravella was charged with the loss for Pittsburgh and evened his record at 2-2. The southpaw was knocked around for four runs, all earned, on three hits in 0.2 innings of work.
Notre Dame collected 13 hits on the day, the most for the Irish since Feb. 19 when they had a season-high 25 against Purdue. Senior 3B Greg Sherry paced the attack with three hits, two doubles, two RBI and a run scored. Senior SS Mick Doyle, freshman CF Eric Jagielo and freshman 1B Trey Mancini chipped in with two hits apiece. Doyle doubled twice, drove in one and scored a run. Jagielo singled twice and scored a run, while Mancini went 2-for-5 with a run scored and two-run home run. Sophomore DH Adam Norton went 1-for-4 with two RBI.
Notre Dame found itself down 6-3 heading to the top of the seventh inning, but the Irish exploded for five runs on five hits in the frame to grab an 8-6 lead. Mancini belted his team-best fourth home run of the season off Caravella, a three-run shot to right field that tied the score, 6-6, but Notre Dame was not done.
Grosso and Hudson then drew back-to-back two out walks, one off Caravella and one off Matt Wotherspoon. Sherry followed with an RBI single, his third hit of the afternoon, to give the Irish a 7-6 lead. Norton added another two-out RBI single to push the Notre Dame advantage to 8-6.
The two-run cushion was more than enough for the Irish bullpen as Hudgins and Fitzgerald slammed the door with 4.1 scoreless innings of work.
Pittsburgh jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Irish starter Todd Miller. The senior RHP retired seven straight following the tough first inning, but surrendered a solo home run to David Chester in the third that gave the Panthers a 4-0 lead.
Notre Dame cut the Panthers' lead in half, 4-2, with a pair of runs in its half of fifth inning on Doyle's RBI double and Norton's sacrifice fly, but Pittsburgh regained its four-run cushion with consecutive doubles from Chester and Travis Whitmore to extend its lead to 6-2.
Miller did not factor in the decision. He was tagged with six runs, five earned, on seven hits in 4.2 innings, his shortest outing of the season. Miller struck out two and did not issue a walk.
Pittsburgh starter Ethan Mildren scattered eight hits over his 6.0 innings. He was charged with three runs, one earned. Mildren fanned one without a walk.
Notre Dame will return to action at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Frank Eck Stadium against the South Bend Silver Hawks. The game will be broadcast live on WHME Harvest 103.1 FM and will be available on-line at UND.com. Live stats will be available on GameTracker.
As always, please visit UND.com regularly for full coverage of all Notre Dame athletics news and events.